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P RO L O GUE                                    II

in a type of life so different from one's own, but for one Sir
Robert Hart there are ten thousand Rodney Gilberts, and for
one Bertrand Russell there are ten thousand H. G. W. Wood-
heads. The result is a constant, unintelligent elaboration of
the Chinaman as a stage fiction, which is as childish as it is
untrue and with which the West is so familiar, and a con-
tinuation of the early Portuguese sailors' tradition minus the
sailors' obscenity of language, but with essentially the same
sailors' obscenity of mind.

The Chinese sometimes wonder among themselves why
China attracts only sailors and adventurers to her coast.
To understand that, one would have to read H. B. Morse
and trace the continuity of that sailor tradition to the present
day, and observe the similarities between the early Portuguese
sailors and the modern O.C.H.s in their general outlook, their
interests and the natural process of selection and force of circum-
stances which have washed them ashore on this corner of the
earth, and the motives which drove, and are still driving, them
to this heathen c.ountry—gold and adventure. Gold and
adventure which in the first instance drove Columbus, the
greatest sailor-adventurer of them all, to seek a route to China.

Then one begins to understand that continuity, begins to
understand how that Columbus-sailor tradition has been so
solidly and equitably carried on, and one feels a sort of pity
for China; a pity that it is not our humanity but our gold and
our capacities as buying animals which have attracted the
Westerners to this Far Eastern shore. It is gold and suc-
cess, Henry James's "bitch-goddess," which have bound the
Westerners and the Chinese together, and thrown them into this
whirlpool of obscenity, with not a single human, spiritual tie
among them. They do not admit this to themselves, the Chinese
and the English; so the Chinese asks the Englishman why he
does not leave the country if he hates it so, and the Englishman
asks in retort why the Chinese does not leave the foreign
settlements, and both of them do not know how to reply. As
it is, the Englishman does not bother to make himself under-
stood to the Chinese, and the true Chinese bothers even less
to make himself understood to the Englishman.